Primary and secondary teachers vote overwhelmingly to strike

Teachers have voted overwhelmingly to strike in what will be the biggest industrial action ever taken by education providers in New Zealand.

Primary and secondary teachers from across the country will walk off the job on May 29, and encourage parents and members of the public to join them for a "day of action" concerning the future of education.

In the last week, members of both teaching unions - NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) - voted in secret ballots and online ballots to determine whether a strike would take place.

Primary principals also voted in favour of the May 29 strike.

Almost 50,000 teachers and principals will take part, making it the New Zealand education industry's biggest ever industrial action.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart says the day of action is intended to make it clear to the Government that urgent steps must be taken to fix the "education crisis".

"Teachers have spoken - they want the Government to find a solution, now. Our children cannot wait and neither can our teachers."

PPTA president Jack Boyle says it's "hugely disappointing" that negotiations with the Government have not worked, but teachers want a positive outcome for them and the country's children.

The Ministry of Education says it will apply for an "urgent return" to facilitated bargaining with both unions in an attempt to avoid the mega-strike.

"This strike action does not offer a solution," Secretary of Education Iona Holsted says. "Instead it will cause disruption to the learning of many thousands of children and young people, as well as causing significant inconvenience for parents and families. Those with primary-aged children have already had to manage through two previous strikes."

Holsted says the teaching workforce is "stable and growing", with more people training for, entering and staying in the profession.